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G-A schools work to accommodate growth

June 24, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- With the largest-ever freshman class preparing to start at Greencastle-Antrim High School this fall, the school board is brainstorming ways to expand its facilities before the aging school reaches capacity.

The Greencastle-Antrim School District soon will be eligible for state renovation reimbursement at the high school and middle school, and this fall, a group of school board directors will present ideas for a long-range renovation plan to the nine-member board, Greencastle-Antrim School Board Director Arnie Jansen said.

"It is a necessity to be proactive," he said. "We are chartered to educate our children, so we have to make sure we have adequate facilities."

Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said it has been almost 20 years since the high school and the middle school were renovated. The primary school and the elementary school both were built within the last 30 years.

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Jansen said the facilities development committee has been generating ideas to accommodate increased enrollment over the next 10 to 20 years.

Modular classrooms, connecting the middle school and high school, adding a fifth building to the campus for grades 5 and 6, building a new wing at the primary school and a field house all have been topics of discussion among the committee, said Jansen, who serves on the committee.

No idea is off the table and none of the projects will be presented in any order of priority, Jansen said.

The committee will present its ideas this fall and ask for public opinion, under the presumption the greatest needs are at the high school and middle school, he said.

Jansen emphasized while he believes the school district must be proactive and plan for growth, he is not for or against any of the ideas that will be presented this fall.

"Personally, I don't know if I am in favor of any of these ideas," Jansen said. "I need to see updated growth figures first."

The projected enrollment numbers for the district are out of date, with the most recent numbers dating to 2006, when Antrim Township was growing exponentially.

While it would take at least three years for the school district to break ground on any project, the current budgetary stress weighing on the board and the number of approved lots in the township both could affect the way the board approaches a long-range plan, Jansen said.

That is why the board wants to hear the public's opinion as it proceeds, he said.

The school board will not meet again until August. Jansen said the committee will present its ideas in either September or October.

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